Sales / BD leaders:
Do your BD people want to be good at BD?
Or do they want to appear to be good at BD?
Good at BD
Do they prioritise their own performance improvement, and remain honest about the activity they’re doing, what’s working and what isn’t, and taking responsibility to adapt accordingly? Are they consistently and reliably moving the ball along and then scoring?
Appear to be good at BD
Or do they prioritise shaping their image, shaping the figures they report, shaping the CRM, shaping their reasons of why deals were won or lost (when they win, it’s them, when they lose it’s something else), and then projecting this on to others?
And if so, how are the “appear to be’s” influencing your new staff who try to model their flawed approaches?
In my experience, most sales or BD teams include a number of both types:
- The good enough at BD and about-to-get-even-better types.
- And the appear to be good at BD and about-to-cost-the-business-dearly types.
The “appear to be’s”
The motivations, mindset, self-image, decisions, behaviours, emotions, actions taken and genuine long term results differ between the two.
But there are many more of the “appear to be” types out there. And it’s not always easy to spot the difference unless you know what you’re looking for.
Unfortunately, the “appear to be’s” are usually caught swimming naked only when the tide goes in.
You wait in hope for the “appear to be’s” to actually deliver robust, measurable, consistent results that you can rely on.
But when they don’t, (and providing you have been honest with them all along about the role, expectations, resources and support they’ll get) they keep up appearances by pointing the finger and blaming something else. Usually any or all of your product, marketing materials, low quality leads, the market itself, other people, or even you, as they shuffle out the door on to their next role. After all, it’s nothing to do with them – they are good at BD like they kept telling you.
Ideally you’d spot and weed out the “appear to be’s” sooner rather than later (and preferably not recruit them into a BD role in the first place).
But that’s tricky, since they’re working very hard to appear to be right for the role. They’re illusionists. And we don’t want to be left disillusioned.
How to spot them early
One way to spot them before it’s too late is to gather some deeper insights around their BD mindset, their drive to improve at BD, their ‘growth’ vs ‘fixed’ mindset, their self-image, their consistency of thinking, ability to drive results forwards and to learn a bit about any costly BD blindspots they may have as a result of their thinking.
And to do that, you might like to use my new online BD capability self-assessment.
When you both see the personalised report it produces after they have spent 15 minutes answering the questions, you can have a deeper, more focused conversation to probe around the findings of the assessment.
It should enable a more thorough exploration upfront of potential new recruits, or of those in your existing team. And with the right exploration, you are more likely to cut through anything they are trying to project on to you, getting closer to the reality.
If you’re interested to trial it early in exchange for some feedback so that I can improve it, please get in touch.